Revealing the Rapist Next Door: Property Impacts of a Sex Offender Registry
- Author(s): Susan Yeh
- Date Posted: 2015
- Law & Economics #: 15-24
- Legal Studies #: LS 15-06
- Availability: Full text (most recent) on SSRN
How do homebuyers respond to perceived crime risks about sex offenders in the neighborhood? I evaluate local property and crime responses to Internet sex offender registry listings. Among more permanent listings, a nearby offender depresses house prices by up to 4 percentage points. I document that the majority of registered sex offenders are transient, with durations of less than 6 months at an address. While a growing literature suggests that housing stability is important in reducing criminal behavior, the market perceives heightened crime risks to be attached to the listings of registered offenders with more stable housing, but not to those who are transient or who have moved away. Prices correspond more strongly to long-term offender locations than to locations of actual sex crimes. I find small, localized reductions in rapes involving weapons within 0.1 miles of offender addresses and increases in sex crimes farther away.